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Nutrition Assistant (Dietitian)

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2018: < 5,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: $1201 to $1500 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
Brief Dietary aides assist dietitians to maintain good standards of nutritional care for patients. They may also work in the kitchen preparing food in childcare centres, hospitals and aged care facilities. Dietary assistants may work with dietitians to apply the science of human nutrition to help people understand the relationship between food and health and make the appropriate dietary choices to attain and maintain health and to prevent and treat illness and disease. This career is for people with good communication skills, good organisational skills. It is also a job for people who enjoy working with people.

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Dietary aides assist dieticians to maintain good standards of nutritional care for patients. Duties may include: discussing the dietary needs of patients with health care team members; interviewing patients to discuss food preferences; assisting in the planning of patient menus; maintain diet records. Dietary assistants also develop a nutrition care plan in consultation with dietitians.

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Education Requirements

You can work as a dietary aide without formal qualifications, but employers generally require Year 10. You may get some informal training on the job. However, entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications.

You can also become a dietary aide through an apprenticeship in Health Service Assistance (Nutrition and Dietetic Support) or Hospitality (Catering Operations). Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

TAFE SA offers the following course to assist you in gaining employment in this area: Certificate III in Nutrition and Dietetic Assistance.

Career Path

Nutrition is a rapidly expanding field and graduates find employment in a wide variety of roles and settings: patient care and education in hospitals, nutrition and health education in community health centres, public health nutrition and food and nutrition policy in government departments, private practice and consultancy, education and training, food industries, health promotion and nutrition research. Relatively new areas are in the fields of sports nutrition, publishing and the media. Some nutrition assistants work on a part-time basis.

It is a fairly small occupation. However, it is growing and has good employment prospects. Opportunities for nutrition assistants depend upon a range of factors including government health funding and the recognition of nutrition by the community as a means of preventing and treating diet-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Demand for nutrition assistants depends on the level of public and professional awareness, and acceptance of the services they provide.


Health and Community Services

Nature of the Job

Nutrition Assistants/ Dietary aides may be expected to discuss the dietary needs of patients with health care team members as well as interviewing patients to discuss their food preferences. They also assist in the planning of menus for patients, making sure food is hygienically and correctly prepared and attractively presented. Knowledge of computers is also essential as nutrition assistants may use computers for data entry and retrieval as they maintain diet records for patients. In consultation with dieticians, dietary aides may also be required to develop a nutrition care plan in consultation with dieticians as well as assisting in the training of staff involved in the preparation and serving of meals for patients with particular needs.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Nutrition assistants have a high level of contact with the public and might work in the medical and other health care services. Dietary aides may also be required to undertake rostered weekend and shift work.

Typical Occupational Example

Dietary aides are employed in public and private hospitals, and larger nursing homes. Demand for dietary aides depends on the general level of funding within the health system, particularly the number of hospital beds available to cater for in-patients. Demand is likely to increase as the community increasingly sees improved nutrition as a means of preventing illness.
Employment settings that you could enter using your Dietary Aide skills:
Child Care Centres
Hospital Food Services
Hospitals and Health Care Settings
Rehabilitation Centres
Residential Care Settings

Earning Potential

$38,000 - $52,000 plus p/a

Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Health or Hospitality Training Packages that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online